The Killing Club
Whilst on a job in 1980 mercenary Danny Bryce (Jason Statham) not only gets injured but kills the hit in front of the man's kid, it leads to a feeling of guilt and his retirement to Australia to lead a quiet life. But a year later he learns that his mentor Hunter (Robert De Niro) has been taken hostage in Oman when he failed to complete a job. Unless Danny agrees to complete the job Hunter was suppose to do Hunter will be executed. But not only don't things go to plan but also Spike Logan (Clive Owen) a former operative who now provides protection for other operatives is on his case.
"Killer Elite" starts with a snappy action scene which sets up why Danny quit as a mercenary and whilst the use of the shaky camera quickly gets annoying it is entertaining. But then the fatal words come "Based on a True Story" as "Killer Elite" is based on the novel "The Feather Men" by adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes which at points in time was said to be based on facts and then over the years has been accepted as a work of fiction. The trouble is that "Killer Elite" is a thinking man's action movie, it delivers a complex storyline alongside the action but when I say it is complex I should have said preposterous as it ends up convoluted and frankly preposterous.
It is a shame that the thinking side of "Killer Elite" ends up ridiculous as it is nice to be confronted by an action movie which demands more of the audience than to tuck in to their popcorn whilst someone kicks butt on the screen. But the whole thing just spirals out of control as it goes from a reasonably entertaining set up with a dying sheik wanting to avenge his son's death to a twisted mess which even features the character Ranulph Fiennes.
Of course there is the action side of the movie and in Jason Statham the movie has a safe pair of hands as he is one of the best action stars in recent years, yes some of the movies he stars in have been questionable but he always delivers the action which he does again here. It is the same with Clive Owen who whilst not as snappy in action scene has something about him which makes action thrillers come to life. But then there is Robert De Niro who appears to be here more for a pay check than because he is given an interesting character to play and so again I finding myself saying that if you are drawn to "Killer Elite" because of Robert De Niro you are going to be disappointed.
But then there is director Gary McKendry who generally does a good job of things, keeping the movie ticking over and trying to distract the audience from the convoluted nature of the plot. But McKendry does something I hate and that is over use the shaky camera especially during action scenes which only cause the movie to become head ache inducing. Don't get me wrong as shaky camera can work well, as can close ups which obscure much of the face but the over use of them quickly becomes over kill and annoying which is what goes on her.
What this all boils down to is that "Killer Elite" wants to be a thinking man's action thriller and it comes close to pulling it off with good action. But unfortunately the thriller side of it becomes too convoluted and preposterous especially when it proclaims to be based on a true story.